Never Calcium Without Magnesium

January 17, 2008

Calcium tablets as monotherapy increase the risk of blood clots in the heart and brain.

Last year, the British Medical Journal in their web version published a scientific article with the above-mentioned gloomy message.

1,471 healthy women over 55 years were randomly divided into two groups, one with 732, who took a supplement of calcium citrate for 5 years and a group of 739 who took placebo.

During these five years, they were examined every six months, and for each year, the distance between the two groups increased with statistic significance.

It was found that in the group who took calcium tablets, there was a significant increase in the risk of blood clots in both the brain and the heart.

The authors are surprised by the result and have reservations until the matter has been investigated further with more studies.

But do we have to wait five years for a new study of this result?

Is not it predictable?

Most people who have experience with the use of minerals for disease prevention are well aware that you should never take calcium without taking magnesium at the same time.

Magnesium is the key
(If you think it becomes too biochemical, then just read the conclusion at the end).
Magnesium sits like a bolt in the calcium channel of the cell membrane.

The moment calcium wants to enter a cell, magnesium closes the door and when calcium wants leave the cell, magnesium will open up. It’s the opposite in bone cells.

Therefore, the cells in the soft tissues are almost empty of calcium. The calcium concentration outside of a cell is about 10,000 times as high as within a cell. Thanks to magnesium.

If we lack magnesium, the calcium channels will open.

This means that through the open calcium channels, calcium flows into the cells, causing the cell to cramp and, in the long term, (hours) destroy its mitochondria.

The cramp causes immediate contraction of the blood vessels due to the smooth muscle cells around the small arteries, resulting in increasing blood pressure and risk of brain hemorrhage and destruction of calcification plaque and thus risking a blood clot in the heart. At the same time, the energy production of the cell is minimized due to the destruction of the energy-producing mitochondria with their vital content of coenzyme Q10.

This not only results in less energy production in the cells, but also a smaller consumption of oxygen absorbed in the cell, which in turn means that a greater proportion of this oxygen are then used to produce harmful free radicals, IF there is iron present as a catalyst for this process, and this is precisely the case in this group of women who no longer menstruate.

Then the roulette runs with destruction of the cell membrane and the surrounding cells from within, because now the cell has suddenly had its own little “Chernobyl meltdown”.

If we lack magnesium, we have no control over the distribution of calcium, and it is distributed more or less evenly throughout the cell phase, ie. both in bone cells and in soft tissue cells, muscle cells, skin cells, connective tissues, etc.

But are we lacking magnesium?
Yes we are. More than 70% of the population do not even get the recommended daily allowance of 300 mg of magnesium.

Why not?

The food has gradually become more and more low in magnesium. In part, the industrialization of the diet has resulted in a large loss of magnesium in the finished product, and we eat less vegetables where we find this magnesium and when we cook the vegetables, we pour the magnesium out with the boiling water.

Furthermore, many elderly people loses magnesium because they take diuretic medicine or because they drink too much coffee.

70% of research participants with low intracellular magnesium are more than sufficient to explain the significant increased risk associated with calcium intake as monotherapy.

There is therefore no surprise in the achieved result, and it should not be necessary to wait a lot of years to take extra magnesium along with ones calcium supplement. This will not only benefit muscles, heart, brain and bones, but also a variety of processes in the body that rely on the more than 300 enzymes for which magnesium is required.

So: Never take calcium without magnesium!

By: Claus Hancke, M.D.



Mark J Bolland, P Alan Barber, Robert N Doughty, Barbara Mason, Anne Horne, Ruth Ames, Gregory D Gamble, Andrew Grey, Ian R Reid. Vascular events in healthy older women receiving calcium supplementation: randomised controlled trial. BMJ published online 15 Jan 2008;doi:10.1136/bmj.39440.525752.BE

Magnesium benefits asthmatics

January 8, 2007

Almost everyone gets far less magnesium in their diet than people got in the past. It seems that this greatly worsens life for asthmatics. But the problem has hardly been investigated.

One has to take magnesium seriously. It is a vital mineral, but many people get far less than the 3-400 milligrams a day that are considered adequate. Before the industrialization, we got an average of approx. 500 mg a day (some have said 1,000). Today, many get less than 250.

Several reports in recent years have linked magnesium deficiency to asthma and allergies. In 1994, for example, an English study showed that the more magnesium asthmatics got, the better their lung function. Those who received 500 mg a day had 25% better lung function than those who received 400 – judged by the amount of air you can exhale in one second.

Asthma was not very common in the past. Today, it is a fearsome widespread disease. Approx. every tenth Danish school child has asthma. In Aberdeen and Philadelphia, every fourth child at the age of eight has it. The frequency in Denmark has more than tripled since the 1970s, and no one has any reasonable explanation. What if magnesium deficiency is part of the cause?

During an asthma attack, the bronchi contract so that the air can neither get out nor in – especially not out. But as early as 1912, the famous physician Trendelenburg – it was he who suggested that you should have your legs up in the air if the blood pressure drops – showed that magnesium has the opposite effect. It dilates the bronchi. It was on cows, but in 1936 it was also detected on humans.

Still, only two randomized studies have actually been made to investigate the effect on asthma. One (from 1997) showed that magnesium reduces symptoms. The second (from 2003) showed nothing, which was probably due to the patients receiving so much medication that there was nothing to improve.

Less allergy
Now a team of Brazilian doctors has made a third attempt. They studied 37 children and adolescents (7-19 years) with persistent moderate asthma and allergies. All received medical treatment in the form of an asthma spray with a bronchodilator in addition to adrenal cortex hormone. In addition, they had an acute-acting spray for use in aggravation.

In 18 of the children, this treatment was supplemented with 300 mg of magnesium daily for two months. The rest received placebo (“calcium pills”). Who got what, was decided by secret drawing of lots.

Magnesium helped. Those who received magnesium had significantly fewer days of asthma exacerbation during the two months (12 and 17, respectively). Despite this, they also had significantly fewer days in which to resort to the acute-acting spray (7 and 12, respectively). Although the experiment was small, the differences were statistically extremely reliable. In addition, those who were treated responded far less to the traditional skin prick tests used to examine for allergies. They actually became less allergic! Finally, one could directly measure that their bronchial mucosa was far less irritable.

The conclusion is obvious: Trendelenburg’s old discovery holds water with great certainty. But magnesium is a very cheap mineral (a prolonged-release tablet with 360 mg costs a little over a penny), which no one can patent. Who will pay for further research?

Niels Hertz, MD


1. Gontijo-Amaral C et al. Oral magnesium supplementation in asthmatic children: A double-blind placebo controlled trial. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2007: 61:54-60.
2. Britton J et al. Dietary magnesium, lung function, wheezing, and airway hyperreactivity in a random adult population. Lancet 1994;344:357-62

Children with ADHD lack magneisum

March 17, 2006

A majority of restless ADHD children were lacking in magnesium. All children improved when given magnesium and B6-vitamin supplements.

In almost all kindergarten classes there are one or two so-called ADHD-children giving the teacher a hard time with their continuous restlessness, running about, violent behaviour and inattentiveness. (ADHD stands for Attention Deficit, Hyperactivity Disorder).

Two studies – the only ones conducted – have now shown that a combination of magnesium and vitamin B6 helps.

Why should magnesium help? In a French study 52 children, all diagnosed with ADHD, were examined. The children were typically six years old. If the serum level of magnesium was measured in a normal blood test, normal values were seen. But since almost all magnesium in the body is found inside the cells, this says nothing. It is inside the cells that we must look.

On average, the children only had 4/5 of the amount of magnesium in the cells (in this case, the red blood cells) present in normal adults. They were deficient in magnesium!

Therefore they were given a daily supplement of 6 mg. of magnesium and 0.8 mg. Vitamin B6 per kilo body mass for one to six months. After this, no less than all the children got better. For example, at the beginning of the experiment 26 of the children were deemed physically aggressive. After four months, only six. At the same time their ability to concentrate and their attention span improved (evaluated in an approved manner). Statistically, these results were quite credible.

A weakness in the French study was that it was a so-called open study. There was no untreated control group and the treatment was not blind. This leaves room for coincidence and over-interpretation. On the other hand, the study showed exactly the same as a similar study from 1997. Also, the improvements occurred at the same time as the measurable magnesium deficiency disappeared. When this had happened, treatment was stopped.

Magnesium in the Diet
If it works, it may not be that surprising. The same course of treatment seems to have helped women suffering from irritability and imbalance due to PMS (PreMenstrual Syndrome) in several studies. On top of this comes the generally sedative effect on nerves (magnesium can be used as a local anaesthetic). Magnesium has a relaxing effect on muscles. Does magnesium also have a calming effect on the central nervous system?

Another question is why ADHD-children apparently are deficient in magnesium. The French suggest that genetic factors play a role, but in a majority of the parents, it was not just one, but both of them who were deficient in the mineral. This suggests that nutrition is more important.

A British evaluation indicates that foodstuffs’ content of magnesium has decreased in the past 60 years. It is estimated that today there is 24 and 16 percent less magnesium in vegetables and fruit, respectively, than in 1940. On top of this is an increase in the consumption of sugar. Those who dauntlessly claim that 10 percent of the calories in the diet can be contributed by sugar, are also saying that you can easily omit 10 percent of the diet’s magnesium. Furthermore, less physical work means a decreased need for food generally, thereby decreasing the amount of magnesium we consume. A typical magnesium consumption rate today (3-400 mg. a day) is probably half of what it was 100 years ago.

Something else to consider also is that there is a row of more or less confirmed observations of connections between behavioural disorders in children and teenagers (and criminals) and an unhealthy diet. Is this purely coincidence?
It will take several months to rectify a magnesium deficiency, but it might be worth it to try.

By: Vitality Council

1. Mousain-Bosc et al. Magnesium VitB6 intake reduces central nervous system hyperexcitability in children. J Am Coll Nutrition 2004;23:545S-548S
2. Starobrat-Hermelin et al. The effects of magnesium physiological supplementation on hyperactivity in children with attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD). Magnes Res 1997;10:143-8

Magnesium May (Perhaps) Prevent Cancer

February 21, 2005

The less magnesium you get, the larger is the risk of colon cancer – plus asthma and imbalances in the muscle- and nerve function. Diuretic pills and empty calories is the major cause of magnesium deficiency.

Swedish researchers have discovered that a lack of magnesium seems to increase the risk of colon cancer which is one of the most common forms of cancer. The increased incidence was discovered in a group of 66,000 women of 40 – 70 years of age who were followed during a 3 year period.

The majority of the 66,000 women got less than the recommended 350 mg. of magnesium a day through their diet. Actually, if a woman got more than 255 mg. of magnesium a day, she would belong to the top 20% in regard to magnesium intake. This top 20% had a significantly reduced risk of colon cancer compared to the rest of the women, and the risk was inversely proportional to the intake of magnesium.

Why do so few people get enough magnesium? It should not be difficult to get enough, but it is estmated that at the beginning of the last century, an average adult person got more than 1000 mg. of magnesium a day. That is four times as much as the women who today get the most.

The explanation is obvious. At the beginning of the last century, the consumption of empty or half-empty calories in the form of sugar, margarine, and white flour was much smaller than it is today. In 100 g. of oatmeal, there is almost 300 mg. of magnesium while other whole grain products (and semisweet chocolate!) contain approx. 100 mg. of magnesium per 100 g. That is four times as much as in industrially manufactured white flour.

Lean meat which was rarely used 100 years ago does not contain more than about 25 mg. of magnesium per 100 g; which is about the same as in vegetables such as spinach, peas, and beans.

The comparison is interesting for other reasons than its relation to cancer. In numberous studies, a lack of magnesium has been linked to atherosclerosis and heart failure; diseases that were not all that common 100 years ago.

A number of years ago, for example, a Scottish study showed that when asthmatics were given a supplement of just 100 mg. magnesium, they suffered fewer asthmatic attacks and their mucous membranes were less irritable. It is a well-known fact that asthma is also a far more common disease today. The effect corresponds to the fact that you can stop an asthma attack by intravenously injecting magnesium sulphate.

Magnesium has many other effects as well: It inhitibs the tendency of the blood platelets to aggregate and increases the production of nitric oxide (NO) which keeps the blood vessels open, it lowers the blood pressure, and it maintains a normal circulation.

All these things can be assumed to reduce the risk of coronary thrombosis; a connection that is presumed but has yet to be finally confirmed. However, it is further supported by the fact that magnesium has several effects in common with the cholesterol-lowering drugs called statins – without having the side effects, that is.

The relaxing effect on the blood vessels might be connected to the generally relaxing effect on muscles and nerves for which magnesium is well-known. In earlier days, complete anaesthesia was induced by magnesium just as local anaesthesia can be achieved by injecting magnesium under the skin.

Magnesium is still the most important remedy against cramps in pre-eclampsia and can also be used against tetanus. Many people also benefit from a magnesium supplement that can relieve cramps in the legs which can be a nuisance to both pregnant women and elderly people.

It can seem alarming that we get so much less than we used to of a mineral with these properties. Not least because the widespread use of diuretics contribute to the lack of magnesium by excreting magnesium via the kidneys.

In addition to this, we can now add the possible anti-carcinogenic effects of magnesium. Of course, it might also be the result of a combination of other deficiencies which occurs at the same time as the magnesium deficiency. A poor diet will result in a lack of a number of essential nutrients, so the moral must be: Eat properly!

By: vitality Council

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Joseph E. Pizzorno Jr., Michael T. Murrey & Melvyn R. Werbach.